Wow, its been a couple of weeks. The computer fix I paid so much money for failed. There is still a pink twinge to everything on my laptop screen, so I will have to have it fixed again. But, the good news, as they say, is I’m back on the air. Thank you to all of the people who called and wrote to me to say they have missed this post. I heard from people I didn’t even know were reading this. I am humbled and very appreciative. Of course, you all could have bought my book and never missed a beat…but, I digress.
I have missed the connection of writing on a regular basis. I didn’t know how much I missed it until this morning. I did a radio interview yesterday from California, where I am traveling until tomorrow. The show originated out of Atlanta, so that meant a very early morning for me. I awoke at 6 and looked over my notes and checked my blog site, when I realized I hadn’t posted in a while. I enjoyed the back and forth of questions from the host of the show, and it inspired me to fire up the pink computer screen and write.
Florence Shinn wrote a wonderful book, entitled, The Game of Life and How to Play It. I read it on the plane ride out west. Of the many wonderful insights she shares is the idea that man should make an art of thinking. Shinn believes the path to one’s desires is through the practice of right thinking and action taken as a result of that thinking. She believes positive action and thoughts bring about definite and positive outcomes and that man should not allow himself to exist merely on random thoughts. In her view, we should all take time to foster and nurture positive thoughts that are helpful to ourselves and to the world. Making an art of thinking are powerful words. Those words turned my thoughts to Florida.
It’s wonderful living in a warm climate. I remember it well. Even though I now live in Chicago, I highly recommend the experience. But even with living in Chicago, there are moments. We have had an indian summer. Warm climates mean warm nights, and warm nights mean sitting under the stars, wondering and thinking. There wondering and thinking about what we are and why we seem to be here. In colder climes, you have to do such positing indoors. Its okay, but it’s just not quite the same.
On the plane ride out west, I watched the movie Toy Story 3. Its sadder and more poignant than the first two, but its very, very good. Now, Andy’s childhood is over and its time for him to go away to college. What is to become of Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head and the rest of the toys? Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. But, as the movie drew to a close, I could see some teary eyed folks (not me, but some folks!). I thought about my own three children and of their childhoods. Boy, there are some times when it seems they will be children forever. That’s usually when I get tired of seeing the walls full of handprints, or stepping on toys, or traipsing to other kids’ birthday parties. But, it doesn’t last. Nothing does here.
It was warm that night in California. I sat outside and smoked a cigar. I thought about Florence Shinn and about Toy Story 3. I remembered the art of thinking and I thought about my children and about the wonderful time of childhood. When does childhood end? And how? When exactly is that last day we play with the race car set, our favorite doll or the Etch-A-Sketch? I can’t remember. Is it a hard stop or does it just eventually, somehow, come to pass? Does our childhood and our childhood dreams just fade away? I guess, I don’t know for sure.
There is, however, one thing I do know for sure. And that is, I don’t want childhood to end for my children, just yet. I so enjoy their squeals and squelches, burps and belches. I smile at the wonderment in their eyes every time they discover something good. And though I am much too fat to partake myself, there is nothing like watching the pure joy of them eating ice cream. They don’t know what’s ahead or what life is really like. And I don’t want them to, not yet.
If you consider for a moment, childhood probably starts sometime around the age of 2 and a half. I mean, kids are not that conscious of much before that age. If we then consider that the know-it-all cynicism starts, in earnest, during the very early teens, that leaves about 4,000 actual days of childhood. 4,000 days. That’s all. It goes so quickly.
My career requires extensive travel several times a week. I have all of the frequent flyer miles, free hotel stays and rental car upgrades you could ever think of. My oldest child is 12. She will be 13 in a couple of months. Her 4,000 days as a child are coming to a close too quickly for me. Her brothers are not that far behind. Tonight, I think I want to try to spend as many of those remaining childhood days with my children as is practical.
There is a new opportunity on the horizon. It could make me very wealthy, but it is going to require even more time away and international travel. I’ve decided to weigh the alternatives, and the clock is ticking. 4,000 is closing in, and then the countdown will start for my oldest son. I can’t make all of the remaining days of their childhoods, but I can make a lot of them, and I can make them count. I want to hear them fight both going up and down the stairs, I want to see them giggle and laugh at silly jokes and see them go fast asleep at night because they don’t have a care in the world–except maybe a math test. I want to squeeze as much as I possibly can in the remainder of their 4,000 days of childhood. And, maybe just relive a little of it myself.
So, I think I have taken Florence Shinn’s advice and tried to make a point and an art of thinking—at least for tonight. And I think I cannot say yes to an opportunity that will make me miss more of the Williams kids’ childhoods than I already do. 4,000 days. That’s all. How much childhood is left in your house?
Finally, the website is live and updated. You can go there now! www.vwspeaker.com. The site has links to my blogs and a free preview of my ebook, How to Stop The World And Get Off, Just For a Minute. You can also sign up for my newsletter, which we will start publishing in November. Thank you, again, for all your support.